Thursday, March 02, 2017

Women's History Month 2017: Her Timeline

A brief World War I timeline will help to gain some perspective on the time period we are focusing on.

June 28,1914: Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg.

August 1914: Germany declares war on Russia, France, Belgium.

May 7, 1915: U-boat sinks the Lusitania. 1,198 civilians, including 128 Americans die.

November 7, 1916: Woodrow Wilson re-elected with campaign slogan: "He kept us out of the war."

January 19, 1917: British translate Reich Foreign Secretary Zimmermann's telegram to Mexico. 

April 6, 1917: President Wilson asks Congress for a declaration of war with Germany.

June 5, 1917: First WWI draft registration.

June 5, 1918: Second WWI Draft registration.

September 12, 1918: Third WWI Draft registration.

1918-1919: Two waves of influenza kill more people than the war (20-40 million).

November 11, 1918: At eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the war ends as Germany and Allies sign an Armistice.

January 1, 1920: US Census Day

1920: The 19th amendment is ratified.

Library Company of Philadelphia. Flickr the Commons.

So with the above timeline in mind (or others you find or create) how does your female ancestor/s fit in? Create a timeline for her life during this time period and include historical events that may have impacted her life.

Some things to ask yourself include:
  • Have you checked for her in the 1910 and 1920 census?
  • Is there a state census available? If yes, have you found her in it for the period between 1910-1920?
  • Is she in the city directory for this ten year period?
  • Have you looked for her in newspaper articles for this time period?
The above sources will help provide ideas of occupations or other activities she was participating in.

  • Was she married during this time period?
  • What male family members were living with her ? (husband, father, brother, uncle)
  • What were those male family members involved in? (military, school, home due to illness or too old/too young to serve)
  • Were there any men home during the war?
  • What organizations were active where she lived? (consult newspapers and city directories)
  • What religion was she?
  • Did women have the right to vote in her state prior to the federal right to vote in 1920?
  • Is there someone alive today who heard stories from this family member?

The answers to these questions can assist you as you start to develop a research plan for filling in her life during this time period.

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